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USA Blind Soccer Holds Training Camp in Chula Vista

Posted February 6, 2024  Blind Soccer

The U.S. Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) conducted a USA Blind Soccer training camp, Feb. 1-6, in Chula Vista, Calif. The camp was the first of three training camps scheduled for 2024 as the USA Blind Soccer team prepares for its Paralympic Games debut in Los Angeles in 2028.

“We are excited to kick off our second year of supporting a men’s national team program,” said USABA Director of Sport Performance Amanda Duke Boulet. “This camp provided the coaching staff an opportunity to see how the athletes have been progressing since the last camp held in December and also served as a scouting opportunity for us to name our 2024 USA Blind Soccer Men’s National Team. With four years until the 2028 Los Angeles Paralympic Games, we are eager to continue developing as a team and look forward to competing in our first IBSA international tournament this season.”

The sport of blind soccer has been part of the Paralympic Games since 2004. The U.S. will make its blind soccer debut at the Paralympics when the Games come to Los Angeles in 2028 and the U.S. receives an automatic entry into the competition as the host country.

USABA named the first-ever USA Blind Soccer Men’s National Team in November 2022 and hosted a pair of international friendlies in March 2023, defeating Canada in both matches by scores of 1-0 and 3-0. The live stream of the first match has received over 3,000 views on YouTube.

Eleven athletes, including three goalkeepers were evaluated during the camp. Leading the camp was USA Blind Soccer Head Coach Katie Smith (Columbus, Ohio) along with assistant coaches Fil Wilkinson (Mooresville, N.C.) and Ryan Lazaroe (Slidell, La.).

The camp included two daily training sessions on the field as well as strength and conditioning training. The team also had the chance to introduce the sport of blind soccer to members of the National Women’s Soccer League’s Washington Spirit who were also training in Chula Vista during the week.

USA Blind Soccer Camp Roster

Noah Beckman (Columbus, Ohio)
Ricardo Castaneda (Fort Worth, Texas)
Charles Catherine (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Oseas De Leon (Miami, Fla.)
Cody Kirchner (New Brunswick, N.J.)
Ethan Kunes (Joppatowne, Md.)
Alvaro Mora Arellano (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Ahmed Shareef (Staten Island, N.Y.)

Brandon Gross
(Ararat, N.C.)
Brandt Herron (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Kyle Knott (Brevard, N.C.)

Katie Smith
(Columbus, Ohio)
Ryan Lazaroe (Slidell, La.)
Fil Wilkinson (Mooresville, N.C.)
Mandy Fain (Slidell, La.) – Strength & Conditioning
Doug Smith (Spartanburg, S.C.) – Equipment Manager